Late night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as
our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.
Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative
would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents
Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest
is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity
to serve you!
Day 02: Delhi (Red Fort is closed on Mondays)
After breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of New Delhi, Visiting such sights as, Humayun’s Tomb (1586), the Qutab Minar 72 meters high and one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world. The Iron Pillar which has survived the vagaries of weather for over 1500 years. Continue with a drive through Embassy area, the Government buildings (1921-1930) and Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital.
Later we cross the city and into the walled gates of the Old city with visits to the Jamma Mosque (1650) and drive through the fabled area of Chandni Chowk (aptly translates to Moonlight Square) where the throngs of shoppers and vendors meet in the oldest area of Delhi. Visit the Red Fort (1639-1648 built by Shah Jahan the builder of the Taj Mahal in Agra) to view the inlaid and carved Royal Chambers, on to Raj Ghat and nearby ghats where the founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi and thereafter Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were cremated.
The highlight of this tour would be a ride on cycle rickshaws. Now these are 3-wheel cycles with a sofa seat at the back. The Rickshawalla (Rickshaw driver) sits on a small cushion in the front and two passengers on the sofa seat behind. This is a remarkable way to explore and picture the hustle and bustle as well as the colour of the narrow winding streets bursting with people and pavement shops selling wares of all description - including a laughing set of dentures. The ride would be accompanied by peals of laughter both from the passengers as well as the onlookers.
Overnight at Justa – The Residence, G.K (Superior Room) (B)
Day 03: Delhi / Udaipur (SG 2437 – 1110 / 1235 Hrs)
After Breakfast transfer to the airport to board your flight to Udaipur.
Welcome to Udaipur, the famed “City of sunrise”. Founded in 1567 by Maharana Udai Singh, from the lineage of the legendary Sisodias of Mewar - the decedents of the sun God. A city where the sun truly never set, where tradition and a strict code of heroism were happily united with a love of fine living. A city that has come to be an oasis of romance in the warrior state of Rajasthan.
Meeting and assistance upon arrival & transfer to hotel Jagat Niwas Palace, a modern heritage hotel replete with character and charm, besides all comforts discerning tourists would seek.
Rest of the day is at leisure for your independent activities. We will explore the bustling bylanes of Udaipur which have artisans practicing their traditional crafts handed down to them by their elders. Khari printers do decorative floral patterns in gold and silver on plain or printed fabric. Block printers print various designs and patterns in different colours with the help of wooden blocks. You’ll also find artisans carving furniture, making puppets and traditional wooden toys. Along with engraving and embossing on brass, silver, jewellery, copper and even pottery, Meenakari is a specialty of this region. Udaipur also specializes in stone carving, especially in marble and sandstone, with artisans working hard at chiseling their finest filigree work. Colour as usual plays an important role in the life of Udaipur as in Rajasthan. It is wonderfully evident in ghagharas (long flowing skirts), cholis (blouses), and odhnis (long scarves) of the women as well as the turbans of the men.
Overnight at Jagat Niwas Palace (Raj Room – Lake View) (B)
Day 04: Udaipur
After breakfast we proceed on a tour of this "Lake City". Udaipur is a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. It is probably the most romantic city in a state where every city has some romantic or exotic tale to tell. The huge city palace towering over the Lake Pichola is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and affords very fine view of the lake and the city from the upper terraces. The Jagadish temple next to the city palace enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle- a mighty bird called garuda - in a brass image. The temple is a very fine example of Indo-Aryan Art.
Evening we enjoy a boat cruise on the serene and beautiful Lake Pichola. The island palace on the Lake called Jagmandir Palace is quite fascinating. The Palace provided inspirations and ideas to the builder of the Taj Mahal. The banks of the lake provide interesting glimpses of the daily bathing and the laundry that takes place here. Looking across the lake, with the city and its great palace rising up behind the island palace, is a scene of rare beauty.
Overnight at Jagat Niwas Palace (Raj Room – Lake View) (B)
Day 05: Udaipur / Ranakpur / Kumbalgarh (98 Kms) (02 Hrs drive)
After breakfast we ride out to Kumbalgarh. Enroute we visit Ranakpur.
Upon arrival in Ranakpur, we enjoy excursion to Ranakpur Temple the exquisite Jain Temple. Built during the reign of the liberal and gifted monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century The basement is of 48, 000 sq. feet area that covers the whole complex. There are four subsidiary shrines, twenty-four pillared halls and eligibly domes supported by over four hundred columns. The total number of columns is 1,444 all of which are intricately carved with no two being alike. The artistically carved nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures at a height of 45 feet are an engrossing sight. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 kg whose sound echoes in the entire complex. The main temple is of Chaumukh or four-face temple dedicated to Adinath.
After the tour of Ranakpur Jain Temples we continue our ride to Kumbalgarh. We would have photo stop several times as we walk through the countryside as well as interact with primitive tribals.
Upon arrival we check into the fine Aodhi Lodge - a property of the Royal family of Udaipur.
Afternoon, we explore the beautifully preserved and one of the most majestic forts of India. 13 mountain peaks surround the impregnable fortress of Kumbalgarh (54 Kms) at a height of 3281 ft. Seven towering gateways pierce the massive walls of this prominent fortress of Mewar. The young Udai Singh founder of Udaipur took shelter here from his treacherous uncles. These impregnable walls dotted with cannonballs defeated Emperor Akbar.
Overnight at Aodhi Lodge (Deluxe Room) (B)
Day 06: Kumbalgarh / Sardargarh (130 Kms) (02 ½ Hrs Drive)
After breakfast we will drive to Sardargarh.
Upon arrival in Sardargarh, check in to Sardargarh heritage hotel, one of the magnificent forts of Rajasthan. It is an extravagant creation by men of a bygone era Situated amidst the mountains and deep forests of Chuppun, the 250 year old fortress can be seen from far as it dominates the landscape.
The Mahal (Palace) of the Ravala (Fort) with 21 suites, are today part of the Sardargarh Heritage Hotel. Each suite here has its own ethnic decor. Though all modern comforts that discerning western tourists seek are provided, but, as far as possible, the authentic elements of the Fort have been retained in the Hotel, thus recreating the romance and nostalgia of the era when the powers of the maharaja were at its zenith.
SUGGESTED OPTIONAL ACTIVITY
Evening, Night Safari at Sardargarh (Refer below the quotes for description and prices)
Overnight at Sardargarh Fort (Suite) (B)
Day 07: Sardargarh
Optional Yoga classes are available under trained instructors. This can be booked directly at the resort the previous day. The class would be for 1 hour and conducted on the terrace of the Fort’s ramparts with great views overlooking for miles the primitive countryside. Popular asanas (Yogic positions) would be taught.
Following breakfast, we embark upon a unique experience – a 44 km train ride between two villages. We will go native today, and travel with the villagers through exceedingly fascinating countryside and landscapes.
The track passes through a breath taking scenery of Ravli Sanctuary, with 100 feet high bridges, two long tunnels, waterfalls, thick jungle, and above all an unchanged ambience of a bygone era. The track is cut on a cliff side and one comes down by almost one thousand feet. All along one can only appreciate the Herculean effort by the engineers in 1928.
The safety devices are most amusing. At one place the driver has to get down physically to change the track (when gong down).
We ride on a meter gauge local train, having wooden sleepers, accompanying villagers travelling to Marwar. One travels through a ghat section and descends 1200 feet to Phulad Railway Station. Enroute we stop at GoramGhat flag station where monkeys descend from nabouring scrub jungle to feed on articles given by the villages. Your car awaits you at Phulad 19 Km away that brings you back to Sardargarh.
SUGGESTED OPTIONAL ACTIVITY
Evening, village safari at Sardargarh (Refer below the quotes for description and prices)
Overnight at Sardargarh Fort (Suite) (B)
Day 08: Sardargarh / Rohet (150 Kms) (03 Hrs drive)
Before breakfast there exists an option for undertaking horse rides or camel rides at Sardargarh. The horse safaris and camel safaris happen through the surrounding and adjoining tribal lands of Sardargarh. They have well bred and schooled horses in their stables.
After breakfast we will drive to Rohet.
Upon arrival check in to the Rohetgarh Fort
At Rohet, one is transported in to a world of the past, a world of honour and of chivalry, of glory and of pride; a world of vibrant colours and spectacular magnificence. Past centuries come to life at the historic boundary walls of Rohet- the 16th century fortified deserted home of a Rajput clan. Within the precincts of these time weathered walls is our hotel, the impressive Rohetgarh Fort- a bastion of proud Rajput traditions bathed in the ambience of unmistakable Rajasthani culture where one can, even today experience the famed warm and courteous Rajput hospitality. Frescoes on the tall gateway, brightly painted in the traditional style, using traditional motifs and colour schemes herald your entry to this charmed world the bygone era. The gateway leads to a compound where a profusion of flowers frame the archways in welcome. The portico is a warm and informal place decorated with the artifacts and trophies of many years. Exquisitely carved furniture, delicate hand block prints, original paintings and photographs decorate your rooms, which though redolent with the romance of a bygone era, provide all the modern amenities. Antique hunting riffles, shields & spearheads, daggers and original paintings form the backdrop of the dinning room. The swimming pool here is in beautiful settings and is an oasis in a dessert.
The food at Rohetgarh is special; each recipe is both traditional and typical, handed down the generations and jealously guarded to retain its pristine flavours. You savour only the very best of Rajasthani cuisines, food favoured by the Royalty. The 16th century descendants of the Rathore ruling family still live here and host the guests. The members of the Royal family interact with the guests and interesting stories and anecdotes are narrated.
This afternoon, we would explore Rohet, which is a fascinating small feudal town, which seems to be straight out of the Arabian Nights. There is no proper road here - only one main dusts trail. On either side are typical thatched houses and shops of all kinds - colourful bangles, silver jewellery, potters, fruit vendors on carts, dress shops, tailors etc.
As evening descends upon our hotel, the darkness of the night is lit up by the flickering flames of fire around which the rhythmic movements of the folk dancers assumes shape in brilliant colours; truly an electrifying experience.
Overnight at Rohetgarh – a Heritage Property (Super Deluxe Room) (B)
Day 09: Rohet / Manvar (105 Kms) (02 ½ Hrs Drive)
Morning, we enjoy jeep safaris to visit the heart of Rajasthan villages where tradition centuries old still permeate life styles. One can witness the ‘opium ceremony’ - a ritual by which guests are welcomed. Gaily attired men and women carry on their chores and one can catch a glimpse of their norms and customs. The smoothened mud floors of the village huts remind one of the simple and traditional living here.
After breakfast we will drive to Manvar.
Upon arrival, check into Manvar Camp, located right in the heart of the Great Indian Thar Desert. It is an unprecedented destination offering a rare opportunity to enjoy Rajasthan's desert life, culture, wildlife & beauty. The place provides every comfort the modern traveler could wish for; luxurious accommodation, mouth watering cuisine & an incredible Rajasthani hospitality. Built in the style of a traditional desert village, the resort complex is spread over 5 acres. Constructed using local materials & techniques.
Manvar offer great outdoor adventure and a taste of the Thar Desert. We would enjoy jeep safaris and a camel safari today to the Mustard and Red Chili fields in the middle of the desert.. We would also witness traditional desert villages and lifestyles unchanged for centuries.
Overnight at Manvar Camp (Standard Tent) (B, L & D)
Day 10: Manvar / Jodhpur (75 Kms) (02 Hrs Drive)
Early morning excursion to Khichan.The tiny village of Khichan has assumed a popular appeal with the bird watching community. The local people offer large amounts of grain to birds every morning and this has attracted large numbers of Demoiselle Cranes to usurp this food supply. It is great spectacle to watch these Cranes swoop down to a especially created rectangular enclosure, for their early breakfast. The feeding session lasts for an hour and a half, one group takes off as another settles. Their flight across the backdrop of the traditional mansions of the village, presents wonderful opportunities for photography, as do the feeding birds on the ground. We are very close by and can be offered vantage positions over the terraces, by the local people who feel proud of their visitors.
Later we will drive to Jodhpur.
Upon arrival,check in to your hotel Ratan Vilas, exudes an aura distinctly its own - enhanced by its rich and varied collection of paintings, treasure troves and hunting trophies of yesteryear. Everything is well preserved by the royal family, which still uses a part of the building as its home. The magnificent sandstone building, built for Sir Ratan Singhji, the Maharajadhiraj of Jodhpur, tastefully blends the lavish interiors and modern comforts. Present day facilities are harmonized so as not to disturb the antiquity of the royal abode.
After rest and relaxation, proceed on a guided tour of Jodhpur. Our tour includes the massive fort. In olden days this must have been impregnable since its rocky base is scraped straight down making it nearly impossible to ascend. Once inside, royal palaces abound with fascinating history and priceless jewels, on to the armoury and Jaswant Tara - the Royal Crematorium.
Evening, we would ride horse carriages to the Clock Tower Bazaar. This is one of India’s largest and most colourful wholesale markets especially with respect to clothes, fabrics, spices, vegetables etc. It is a fantastic experience to walk through the place observing and photographing this incredible spectacle of vibrant lifestyles and incredible colours.
Overnight at Ratan Vilas – a Heritage Hotel (Superior Room) (B)
Day 11: Jodhpur / Jaipur (Intercity Express – 0610 / 1050 Hrs)
Early morning transfer to train station to board your train to Jaipur.
Meeting & assistance upon arrival in Jaipur & transfer to the Shahpura House.The Traditional Rajput architect, a mixture of Mughal and Indian, a facade with domes and frescoes. The House is a very fine example of Shekhawati frescos and architecture. Conceived as a traditional Indian palace, The Shahpura House showcases the rich heritage of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan with its rambling courtyards, gentle rippling fountains, reflecting pools and gardens. Interiors embellished with decorative domes, hand painted frescoes, intricate mirror work and beautifully crafted artifacts create an ambience of regal splendour. The family portraits, which add to the charm of this family hotel where tradition still runs strong.
After rest & relaxation, we will explore the unending shopping options of Jaipur along with our Guide. An essential starting point for Rajasthan craftwork is block making and block printing and we will be exploring the process from start to finish in some of the popular stores here. The opportunity also exists here to tailor make outfits to your design and size.
We also explore one of the chief attractions of Jaipur - its jewelry, which offers a variety that ranges from chunky tribal jewelry to enameled gold to modern diamond jewelry. Kundan (art of stone setting) and enamel jewelry has been a specialty of Rajasthan, particularly that of Jaipur. The stones are embossed into decorative shapes & patterns and embellished with delicate enamel ornamentation in the champ eve (raised field) technique. Jaipur is well known for its gold and silver enameling. Colorful bangles made of lac and set with semiprecious stones make an inexpensive buy. The craftsmen take great pains to embed the hundreds of stones into the lac. The skilled gem-cutters of Jaipur carve enchanting little animals and birds from rock, crystal, jade, smoky topaz and amethyst. Intaglio beads & buttons and crystal scent bottles are also available.
Overnight at Shahpura House (Suite Room) (B)
Day 12: Jaipur
Morning we visit Amber Fort, the former capital of the royal Jaipurs. Few fail to be moved by the dramatic Rajput grandeur of this hilltop fortress-palace 11 km north of Jaipur. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills, and surrounded by fortified battlements, the palace straddles two sepia-hued tundra hills overlooking Maota Lake, and its sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding hills.
We will ride up to this hilltop palace on a caparisoned, painted elephant, passing through the ancient main gate where Maharajas of Jaipur have entered for four hundred years. Our guide will elaborate on the history of this architectural masterpiece with its mirror-studded alcoves, dazzling mosaics and water-cooled swings that delight today’s visitors as they did their former royal residents.
We shall visit the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. It was built in 1799 so that veiled royal women could peer down unseen by the world through its 593 stone screens
Later in the afternoon, we proceed on a tour Of the City Palace & Observatory. The City Palace in the heart of the old city is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The centre of the palace is a seven-storied building called Chandra Palace, with fine vies over the gardens and the city. The palace lies in the heart of the city and occupies the whole central grid. The fortified wall has seven gates and was built for protection from invading armies and animals that lived in jungles, which surrounded the wall that time. Next, we visit the Solar Observatory - an astronomical treasure house, with solar device that give accurate predictions till date.
Overnight at Shahpura House (Suite Room) (B)
Day 13: Jaipur / Fatehpur Sikri / Agra (245 Kms) (05 Hrs Drive)
After breakfast, we drive to Agra, stopping at deserted Capital City of Fatehpur Sikri. This abandoned capital of the Mughals is a perfectly preserved city at the height of the empire’s splendour. The city divided into religious and secular parts has interesting well-sculpted buildings. From here we continue our ride to Agra.
Upon arrival in Agra, check into hotel Radisson.
Evening, we will visit to Mehtab Bagh. The Moonlight Garden was an extension of the Taj Mahal Garden - on the other side of the river. In 1652 Aurangzeb wrote to his father telling of a visit to 'the blessed tomb' and commenting that 'the Mahtab Garden was completely inundated and has lost its charm, but soon it will regain its verdancy. The octagonal pool and the pavilion around it are in splendid condition.' The Mahtab Bagh was lost under the mud but re-excavated in the 1990s. Originally, the garden was planted with fragrant flowers and used in the cool of the night as a place from which to view the Taj Mahal reflected in the octagonal pool and in the river.
Overnight at Hotel Radisson – a 5* Hotel (Superior Room) (B)
Day 14: Agra (Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays)
Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument in the world. However, there is a degree of enigma about the Taj. Once you hear about a building so much and once you see so many pictures of a building your expectations are real high; and this is the enigma about the Taj Mahal. No matter how many pictures you have seen or no matter how high your expectations are the Taj never lets you down - the unparalleled glory and beauty of the building surpasses beyond all human imaginations. At sunrise we visit one of the greatest sights of one’s lifetime - Taj Mahal. A dawn visit to the fabled Taj Mahal to witness the magical effects caused by the reflections of the changing colours of the rising Sun on this brilliant white marble building. Later we return back to our hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, we ride to the massive Agra Fort. The elegant buildings inside reflect an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles. Built by Emperor Akbar, the maze of the courtyards, mosques & private chambers of the fort echo the story of the Mughal Empire
Afternoon we visit the itmad -ud -daula Tomb which was build by the empress Noor Jehan as a memorial to her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg, is beautifully ornamented with pietra dura inlay and lattice work marble screens. The queen of Jehangir and the daughter of Itmad-ud-daula Nurjahan built the tomb. It was in the year 1628 that the pioneer of the white marble tomb was constructed.
Itmad-ud-daula i.e. the pillar of state was a tile bestowed on him by emperor Jehangir. The tomb is at times refereed to as the baby Taj. The mausoleum rests in a walled garden with a view of the river Yamuna. In fact it is approximately one and a half kilometers upstream of the Taj Mahal. The structure is renowned for its pietra dura decoration i.e. the inlay works and the carvings.
It way quiet different from the other Mughal tombs in terms of its architecture. The sight of the tomb is a spectacular indeed even though the structure is not as large as the Taj Mahal. The man Mirza Ghiyas himself laid out the char bagh style of architecture six years before his death that has been used in the construction of the tomb.
The beauty of the white marble with the mosaic and the lattice is simply awesome. The tomb structure has a minaret on each one of its four corners. The walls of the cenotaph reveal the intricate inlay work with a variety of illustrations.
The cypresses and the geometrical designs are worth watching. The depiction of the wine flask with the snakes as handles is a recurrent theme on the walls of the chamber. The adjacent chamber has the tombs of the other members of the family.
The decoration of the main chamber has been done with the extensive use of the semi-precious stones on the mosaics. The ornamentation that displays the indian version of the pietra dura is believed to have been different from the symbolic decoration followed in Europe.
Overnight at Hotel Radisson – a 5* Hotel (Superior Room) (B)
Day 15: Agra / Jhansi (Bhopal Shatabad – 0811 / 1045 Hrs)
Jhansi / Orccha / Khajuraho (180 Kms) (04 Hrs Drive)
Early morning, transfer to the train station for a short ride on India’s premier train service to Jhansi.
Meeting and assistance upon arrival in Jhansi & we will drive to Khajuraho via Orccha.
Upon arrival in Orccha, we proceed on a guided tour of the city. The medieval city of Orchha, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, seems to have frozen in time, its palaces and temples still retaining their original grandeur. The city, located by the side of the beautiful Betwa river, was founded by the Bundela Rajput chieftain, Rudra Pratap, in the 16th century.The word Orchha means 'hidden'. When the Tughlaqs, who were ruling Delhi in the 15th century, pushed the Bundelkhand rajas out of Garkhundar, they retreated to distant Orchha. Apart from the famous landmarks like Jehangir Mahal, the Laxminarayan Temple, the area is peppered with fascinating little shrines and memorials, all of which add to the overwhelming feeling of nostalgia, the city evokes in the visitor.
Following the tour, we will enjoy lunch at Hotel Amar Mahal.
After lunch, we will drive to Khajuraho.
Upon arrival in Khajuraho, check into Hotel Radisson.
Overnight at Hotel Radisson (Deluxe Room) (B & L)
Day 16: Khajuraho
After breakfast, proceed on a tour of the world famous western group of temples depicting erotic sculptures of love making images of Gods and Goddesses and celestial Nymphs. The sexual fantasies displayed in the sculptures are mind-boggling. It speaks very highly of the artistic creativity and imagination of the sculptors. The frank depiction of uninhibited sex does hint towards a liberated society and times where people believed in dealing openly with all aspects of life. The graphic and realistic illustrated scenes of lovemaking elaborated on the Tantric texts.
Afternoon, we proceed on a tour of Eastern group of Temples .If pictures speak a thousand words, then the temples of Khajuraho form a magnum opus... an expression of Indian sculptors of yore. These temples of Khajuraho were built by the Chandela kings following the tradition of Tantric art. Although famed for their erotic sculptures, the philosophy behind the temples is much more vast and encompassing. They are in fact a celebration of life!
Sound & Light Show : -
Evening, we visit temple complex to enjoy Sound & Light Show, where the history of the temples is narrated through the medium of Sound & Light. This fascinating Son-et-Lumiere spectacle evokes the life and times of the great Chandela Kings and traces the story of the unique temples from the 10th century to the present day. Amitabh Bachhan, the Indian Super Star, narrates the story of Khajuraho in his mesmerizing voice
Overnight at Hotel Radisson (Deluxe Room) (B)
Day 17: Khajuraho/ Varanasi (AI 405 – 1505 / 1555 Hrs)
Morning is at leisure for your independent activities.
Afternoon, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Varanasi.
Varanasi is quite possibly the world’s oldest living city. Religious artifacts link it to the sixth century B.C. Said to be founded by Shiva, Varanasi’s Vedic affiliation goes back to the beginning of time. It is also a city of many names. The present name, Varanasi (derived from the names of two nearby rivers) is mentioned in the Mahabharata. The ancient name is Kashi, the City of Light. To the devout it is also called Kashika, the shining one, referring to the light of Shiva. Many others prefer the anglicized Benares. Revered by Hindus, Buddhists and Jain alike, Varanasi is considered the holiest city in all of India. It is presided over by Shiva in his manifestation as Vishwanatha, Lord of the Universe. Buddha delivered a sermon in nearby Sarnath and Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, lived in Varanasi. As a result, more Indians will make a pilgrimage to Varanasi in their lifetime than any other place.
Meeting & assistance upon arrival in Varanasi and transfer to Hotel Rivatas by Ideal.
Evening, we visit the ghats of Varanasi to witness the performance of Ganges Aarti. We enjoy a special evening cruise on the Ganges. See the Hindu devotees performing the "Puja" with lighted lamps. The view is very mesmerizing and the ambience is spectacular in the backdrop of the beating of cymbals and bells as well as the incessant chantings. Later return to the hotel.
Overnight at Hotel Radisson (Superior Room) (B)
Day 18: Varanasi (Sarnath is closed on Fridays)
At dawn we visit the sacred Ganges for a boat ride. Every morning at dawn hundreds of worshippers can be seen bathing in the sacred waters. The great river banks are lined with an endless chain of stone steps—the ghats—that stretch from one end of the city to the other. The Ghats form an impressive part of the religious landscape of the city. Proceeding downstream at a leisurely pace, you would be pointed out the significant temples and buildings as well as the changing architectural style. Life and death go hand in hand in Varanasi. While young people seek prosperity and protection from harmful influences, the older generation comes to Varanasi to cleanse their souls in the forgiving waters in preparation for their ultimate dissolution. Believing that anyone who dies in the river of life in Varanasi gains freedom from the cycle of birth and death, the City of Light has become a haven for the sick and aged waiting out their final days. The smoke that billows from the crematoriums on the edge of the river gives testimony to their final release from life’s earthly confines. We would dock our boat at Manikarnika (Cremation) Ghat. On any given day, anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred corpses are cremated here; the ghat is assiduous with activity as the cremated bodies threw up smoke and fire.
Following the boat ride we set off on foot to explore the inner city. Through a twisted maze of narrow alleys, home to numerous shrines and pilgrim shops, we walk back a few centuries. Life
Here has stood still for years. The homes, the shops and even the cattle have not changed over the centuries. It is a brilliant nostalgic experience of timelessness!
Afternoon, we will visit several temples and the Hindu University at Benares. First stop would be the Bharat Mata (temple of Mother India). Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, it features a huge marble map of India on the ground floor. Next up, the Durga Temple. Known for its bright red color and the playful, if sometimes aggressive, monkeys that run amok there, the Durga Temple is one of the most imposing architectural monuments in Varanasi.
The university, which occupies a large piece of land at the southern end of town, is also home to the New Vishwanatha Temple. The New Temple is modern in design and open to Hindus and non-Hindus alike. Surrounded by palm trees, it is a splendid white marble structure that shines in the afternoon sun against a pale blue sky. Inside, the temple is spacious and airy. The interior walls are covered with Vedic art above inscriptions from the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. In the center of the first floor is the Shiva linga.
Eveving, we take a short trip to the Buddhist city of Sarnath .It is here that the Buddha preached his first sermons after attaining enlightenment.
Overnight at Hotel Radisson (Superior Room) (B)
Day 19: Varanasi / Delhi (SG 119 – 1505 / 1640 Hrs)
Delhi / Departure
Morning is at leisure for independent activities. You might choose to visit the banks of the Ganges or walk along the narrow meandering lanes of the old city to witness the performance of various rituals.
Afternoon, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Delhi.
Home Visit & A Farewell Dinner with an Indian Family : Meeting and assistance upon arrival in Delhi, we would visit an Indian family for an Indian home experience. The evening is designed to give you a ‘feel’ and insight into Indian family life as well as experience typical Indian hospitality and home made Indian food
After dinner, transfer to the international airport to board your onward flight.
END OF SERVICES…
Tour Cost Based On 02 People Traveling Together Sharing 01 Room
• Cost valid for period till 30th September, 2014: - INR 136,000* Per Person
• Cost valid from 01st October till 31st March, 2015: - INR 158,850* Per Person
Additional Cost For Suggested Upgrades To Hotels In Various Cities Per Room / Per Night